Spirit Lamp

The layout is assembled, the spirit lamp is lit, and the smoker makes himself comfortable, as opium is most efficiently smoked in the reclining position. Taking a pea-sized ball, or pill , of the dark brown opium paste, or chandu, with the end of a long blunt needle, he holds it over the flame of the lamp until the opium bubbles and swells and turns golden. In some accounts the smoker lets the ball catch fire, blows the flame out, and catches the opium on the edge of the pipe bowl, stretching the gooey mass into long strings in order to "cook"it better, repeating the process several times until it is deemed properly cooked, at which point he rolls it back into its pea shape and quickly pushes it into the hold of the bowl. Holding the bowl of the pipe close to the lamp so that the flame hits the ball of opium, the smoker takes deep pulls at the pipe until the opium is completely consumed. Depending on the depth of the draw, this could be accomplished in one inhalation or several.
When the pipe is cool, the smoker prepares more opium, smokes, prepares still more, and continues until he is satisfied. A novice smoker might consume three pipes; a veteran needs to smoke a great many more.

- pp. 66-67, Opium: A portrait of the Heavenly Demon by Barbara Hodgson (1999)

Spirit Lamp for Smoking Opium
Spirit Lamp
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